Mercedes topped both the free practice sessions on Friday at Sepang, ahead of Sunday’s Formula 1 Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg clocked the fastest time in the second session, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in Ferrari. Red Bull finally managed a trouble free session getting Vettel in the top three in the afternoon.
Fernando Alonso got the second Ferrari in fifth place, behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and ahead of his ex-teammate Felipe Massa driving the new Williams. Jenson Button finished P8 in the first of the McLaren cars following Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg rounded off the top ten.
The second session was relatively incident free, although we did see few drivers take a trip through the gravel pits. Lotus woes continue as Pastor Maldonado failed to even get out of the pits in the second session, while Grosjean managed a distant P17.
Mercedes started the weekend on a positive note with Hamilton taking the P1 in the first session. The times posted by both Ferrari and Red Bull are very competitive and we should know the true pace of the cars by the end of this weekend, on the open track.
Mercedes powered cars continue to enjoy a slight advantage over rest of the field and tyre degrading in the hot and humid conditions in Malaysian might play an important role in the Sunday’s race.